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5 Etiquette Tips for Boarding School Admission

Admission offices operate differently at every boarding school.  Here at Randolph-Macon Academy, we realize that you and your family may be new to the admission process, so we decided to put together a few helpful tips about admission etiquette. They are just a few things to keep in mind when contacting and visiting a prospective school. These tips for admission etiquette come from the Randolph-Macon Academy admission counselors, but they are applicable to most boarding schools.

  • Inform your child about the boarding school before you bring them to visit. Go online and explore the website. Explain the benefits of a boarding school education to your child, highlighting what’s available at the specific schools you are considering. While he or she may not be 100% sold on the idea of attending a new school, it will hopefully make him or her more open-minded during the campus visit.
  • Please call ahead to schedule a visit. As boarding school admission counselors, we are always excited to show you and your family our campus. While we do love having a surprise drop-ins now and then, we kindly request that you call ahead to schedule a tour. We would hate not to be able to accommodate you because our counselors are busy with another family or out of the office.  It is also a good time to let us know if there is anyone special—such as the soccer coach or the German teacher–you would like to meet when scheduling your tour. Coaches and teachers get busy throughout the school year so planning ahead is important to making sure we can accommodate your request.
  • Let us know if you need to cancel a tour. We understand that things happen in life and that may lead to you needing to cancel or reschedule your visit. However, a lot of planning goes into your visit. We clear our calendars so we make sure we have plenty of time to answer your questions.  We contact a student to give you a tour, and that student has to notify his or her teachers. If you’ve requested to meet with the chaplain or the drama instructor, that has been scheduled. While we are always disappointed when a family cannot make it, cancelling ahead of time allows us to notify all the different people who planned for your visit to our boarding school.
  • Leave your cell phone in the car. Kids today use technology all the time. If they have their cell phone with them, they may be tempted text or check Facebook during their visit or interview. Having them leave their cell phone in the car eliminates the chances that they will be focused on it rather than their visit.  Same goes for mom and dad. If you’re constantly checking your phone, it sends the message to your child and our counselors that you really are not interested in our school.  (If you just have to take photos, tweet and/or post them to Facebook after your visit!)
  • Let us know if you are no longer interested in our school. We realize that families look at many schools when conducting a school search. It is okay if you select another school for your child. You won’t hurt our feelings! We understand that we are not a good fit for every student. Please just send us a quick email if you are going in a different direction for your child’s education, or give us a call. No one here is going to give you a “hard sell” to try to change your mind. We respect your intelligence and ability to select the best school for your child!  

Just remember, those of us in the boarding school admission world are here to help you find the school that best matches your child’s educational needs. We may get excited as we tell you about our beloved schools, but we always want  you to make the decision that is best for your child.